Boo & Roo’s

Penny Watkins founded Boo & Roo's in Southport because she loves working in retail and getting to know her customers as friends. Photo by Kris Beasley

Penny Watkins founded Boo & Roo’s in Southport because she loves working in retail and getting to know her customers as friends. Photo by Kris Beasley

When my niece was born in September, I knew exactly the shop I should go to find a pretty and unique gift. In downtown Southport, located in the Water Tower District, Boo & Roo’s had the sweetest baby clothing, softest blankets, and fun, unique rattles and stuffed animals.

Every Christmas I make a point to stop in Boo & Roo’s to find gifts for the women in my family, from classy jewelry to pampering soaps and candles. The owner, Penny Watkins, is always a great help in suggesting a gift for my mom, sister-in-law, or anyone else on my list.

I chatted with Penny to learn more about her special boutique, which is located at 303 N. Howe St. For more info, call (910) 363-4275 or visit

Southport Magazine (SM): Please share your inspiration for Boo & Roo’s and why you enjoy owning a store.
Penny Watkins (PW): I worked retail during high school and college. I love it. After our children went to kindergarten, I went back to work as the marketing director for our local hospital. A few years later, John and I decided it was time to open the boutique I always wanted. I love people and I love talking. The shop affords me both. In 2007, we opened Boo & Roo’s. We had the shop for less than a year in Virginia when John took the position at Dosher Memorial Hospital. We relocated our family and our shop to Southport in 2008.

Why do I enjoy the store? That’s easy: the customers! I have customers that come to vacation in our area once a year. They walk through the door and say, “Hey, Penny!” I have local customers that walk in and ask how my children are, and I know their children and grandchildren. They are more than customers, they are friends and some are like family. We chat, we hug, and we care. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

SM: How do you choose what to feature in your shop?
PW: It all comes back to my customers. I take my customers to Atlanta with me when I purchase new items for the store. Not literally, but I listen to my customers. What did they want to purchase that I did not have? What items did they see when they traveled that they would like to purchase in Southport?
One of my customers attended her daughter’s baby shower in California. She came in Boo & Roo’s and mentioned to me that Aden + Anais was a huge hit at the shower. I researched the company and decided it would be a great fit for my shop. Today Aden + Anais is one of my best-selling lines. Some of my lines come directly from my customers.

SM: How would you describe your store’s style to a potential customer? What sets Boo & Roo’s apart from other shops in Southport?
PW: Boo & Roo’s is a ladies apparel and gift store. We offer a lovely selection of apparel, jewelry, gifts for the home, a great baby section, as well as a few gifts for men. We carry Spartina 449, Hobo International, Tervis Tumblers, Jay’s Jewelry, Lat & Lo, as well as many other exclusive lines. We also have a large selection of American-made gifts such as candles, jewelry, picture frames, and apparel. We even have a few lines made in Southport.

Customer service is a huge part of Boo & Roo’s. We are friendly! When you enter, you are welcomed and greeted with a warm smile. We know you can shop anywhere; we are delighted you decided to patronize Boo & Roo’s. Not only do we appreciate you being here, we also offer complimentary gift wrap, gift registry, and delivery.

SM: What’s in the future for Boo & Roo’s?
PW: I hope to continually add new lines to my shop. I make a big effort to bring in American-made products. There’s not a guarantee my merchandise will sell. Every once in awhile when I receive a shipment, I wonder what I was thinking when I ordered that?

One of the ways I show appreciation to my customers is through special events. We have thrown birthday parties for the shop, as well as many special events with Cattail Cottage–the owner, Pamela, and I enjoy having a great time with our customers. We host a Spring Open House, a Christmas Open House, and everything in between, including our annual luau! It’s fun; the customers and I have a great time.

This year’s Christmas Open House will be held Friday and Saturday, November 7th and 8th. The Water Tower Christmas Open House will be held the following weekend, November 14th and 15th.

Favorite food: Seafood—such as fresh grouper, shrimp, scallops, crab cakes—and a great bottle of white wine. Living at the beach makes that easy.

Favorite book: When I am at the beach, you will find me with a book in my hand. My favorite author is James Patterson. I enjoy his Women’s Murder Club series and his Alex Cross series.

Favorite band: Bon Jovi (and, of course, locals Sgt. Rock)

Favorite place to travel: Anywhere with my family. Our next trip is Disney World, again! Most of our road trips this fall have been to ECU and UNC. We enjoy attending the football games with our children.

Favorite thing about Southport: The people, the weather, the lifestyle. It’s lovely here.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine